Halloween Writing Contest First Place: A passerby and the ghost
Jason D’Addio – Business finance and economy major
The sun began its descent below the horizon; a beautiful sight to behold by the Spanish cliffside on, none other than, All Hallows Eve, the beginning of a three-day celebration. Its gleaming rays were only rivaled by a marvelous hotel that stood alone by a steep rock face, consumed by fire and ablaze in the cool wind. All was solemn, all was quiet. It was a sight to behold – and beholden it was. A Spaniard passerby trotted along with his head cocked low, down on his luck and half-drunk from a long day of debauchery. Clumsily trudging up the grassy hillside, he approached the hotel and his eyes soon widened in disbelief. The heat radiating from the structure sobered him up quickly and to ease his weary self, he decided to catch a glimpse of the endless Atlantic Ocean.
While moving toward the very edge of the cliff, the crashing sounds of waves penetrated the man’s ears and the scent of salt mixed with ash drifted up his nostrils. His sight though, was greeted to a rather strange scene. Standing at the precipice was a woman draped in a long, white, night gown with flowing brown hair that swished during gusts of wind. Hesitantly, the young fellow stepped closer and with each cautious step, his curiosity only grew. By the time he was nearly beside her, his face had turned blue from holding his breath too long.
“You’re here. Nobody ever comes here anymore.”
He exhaled loudly. Shifting his line of sight back to the doomed hotel as it was being gobbled up by the flames, he couldn’t help by crack a smirk. “I can’t imagine why.”
Unable to catch a glimpse of the mysterious woman’s face, the man thought it best to stand beside her, maybe even offer some comfort given the gloomy situation. When the sleeve of his dress coat grazed her arm, he turned and saw a face that was hauntingly pale, with crestfallen blue eyes that had a glazed coating to them. Her lips looked soft while also devoid of color; the plush, red hint of blood flow was nonexistent. Soft cheeks and a shapely figure only complimented her beauty, enhanced by void black, topaz gemstone around her neck. Despite her physical charm, the man couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable.
“What are doing here?” he asked. “And what in God’s name happened to that building?”
“We wanted to end it together. My love and me.”
Tears began to roll down her face. “But his desire was to go down with our crown jewel; that wonderful, grand, old hotel. But me” – she paused.
“But you, what?” said the man.
The woman exhaled softly and whispered. “I always loved this spot. The ocean. The sky. The birds. The serenity of it all. Wouldn’t you?”
Off in the distance by the bay, orange and white fireworks erupted in color as dusk began to fall, almost signifying a climax to the moment at hand. The strange woman suddenly grasped the man’s wrist and pulled him close.
“Here. This place. This is where I always wanted to exit this world.” Her grip began to loosen. “What a shame though, that fate didn’t allow me even that.”
With nothing but grace, the woman released her cold fingers and fell backwards off the cliff’s edge, to the man’s horror. Her ghostly white gown fluttered from the sharp drop as she vanished below the horizon. Rushing to peek his head over the cliff, the man was shocked to discover the absence of a body or blood on the rocks below. There wasn’t even a scream or a splash and the man figured he would have at least witnessed the woman’s swift descent. Nothing.
Perplexed and spooked, the Spaniard headed home to gather marigolds for the Day of the Dead. Honoring the long dead parents he never knew was something of a tradition.